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Patrick talks about first big Cup wreck

Patrick was in a unique position to compare the experience of crashing in a NASCAR Car of Tomorrow as opposed to an Indy car.

"In an Indy car I feel like your belts are tighter. You are really tight in an Indy car mostly because even for the lateral load that you get in the corner you can't be moving around at all," she said. "As far as the impact goes, there is a little less room to move around in an Indy car and you are very confined ... In an Indy car if your arm hits the side it's literally hitting the side of the car, the side of the tub. There is just a lot less room to fly around.

"When you hit in an Indy car you hit quick. There is a lot less recoil I feel like. It's like you hit and you slide along the wall," she explained. "Oddly enough, the impacts feel kind of bigger in a stock car. I think it is because of the room you can move and that the cars bounce a little bit more when they hit. They don't just crush and slow down. There is a bounce there."

She cited the big hit she took very early in her IndyCar career when she crashed at the Milwaukee Mile in 2005. "I spun in one and two in the Indy car. I hit back in and back in two and it spun around and it hit on the inside wall and that second hit felt bigger than the first hit. Sometimes the aftershocks are the parts that hurt a little bit."

Demonstrating the difference in racing cultures between open wheel and stock car competition, Patrick was questioned about why she had released the steering wheel ahead of the car making impact against the SAFER barrier - an instinctive action for an IndyCar driver that perplexed NASCAR fans.

"No, I wasn't covering my eyes!" she laughed off suggestions from the media. "But yes, I did close them as I got to the wall. I didn't want my eyes to pop out of my head.

"In Indy cars we learn to take the hands off the wheel because the holes for your hand are even smaller and we have dashes and the wheel flips," she said. "I've had plenty of times where I have bruised my thumb, my bones, on the wheel. I was trained to, when there is no saving it and no hope, you let go. That is what I did yesterday."

She added that the safety crews had approved of her instincts. "I was just talking to medical on the way in here actually and he was giving me some 'at a girl' on doing that because all kinds of things can happen the more you connect yourself with stuff," she said.

The level of intensity of the questions - What was she doing with her hands? Was she covering her eyes? - shows just how much intense scrutiny Danica comes under in the sport. But she insisted that she didn't resent the attention or want it to diminish anytime soon.

"I feel very lucky to be in the situation that I'm in. I feel lucky to be unique and different," she insisted. "I enjoy being different. I enjoy being unique. I enjoy it all. I really do. I chose to look at the positives that come with it instead of the negatives, but it is a balance. The ups are really good and the downs are sure disappointing.




Related Pictures

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Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 19, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Mobil 1/Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS, races in the NASCAR Sprint Showdown Friday, May 15, 2015 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.  Patrick won the Sprint Fan Vote, earning a spot in the Sprint All-Star Race Saturday night. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Mobil 1/Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS, wins the Sprint Fan Vote Friday, May 15, 2015, earning a spot in the Sprint All-Star Race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 Mobil 1/Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS, wins the Sprint Fan Vote Friday, May 15, 2015, earning a spot in the Sprint All-Star Race Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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